When you really think about it, our personalities are totally defined by our memories. Everything that makes us what we are, that gives us a “soul”—our beliefs, our tastes, our positive and negative reactions to stimuli that we’ve seen before—is shaped entirely by what we’ve experienced in the past. If you wipe out our memories, you’ve basically erased our personalities.
At the risk of oversimplifying things, memories fall into two categories: factual data and emotions. Someone with a more factually oriented memory may recall that it was sunny and 74 degrees Fahrenheit on April 23 of last year. Someone who leans more toward emotions will remember that on April 23 of last year, the weather made them feel happy and alive and grateful that winter had finally passed. Someone with a more integrated memory will be able to combine facts and emotions in a way that benefits them.
Here are five zodiac signs who all have great memories but who all specialize in a different kind of memory.
An air sign ruled by Mercury, the tiny planet that governs communication and information-processing, Gemini’s brain is like a giant database. But unlike #2 Virgo, who is also ruled by Mercury but whose powers of recollection hinge around the visual, Gemini’s skills are more focused on the factual. Their ability to recall the tiniest minutiae of complicated events borders on the terrifying. But their memory isn’t perfect, and they are much better at long-term memory than short-term. They might not be able to recall what they ate for breakfast, but they can rattle off the first and last names of everyone in their first-grade homeroom class—alphabetically.
The zodiac’s legendary perfectionist, Virgo is master of what is known as “eidetic” memory, which is also known as “photographic” memory. They may not be able to rattle off the entire box score of a baseball game as well as a Gemini can, but if you give them a minute or two to stare at an array of 100 different refrigerator magnets placed in a specific pattern on a refrigerator, make them leave the room as you take off all the magnets, then bring them back three hours later and tell them to rearrange the magnets in their original order on the refrigerator, you will be shocked when they reassemble them almost perfectly. Of course, you’ll have to check the picture you took of the magnets in their original order to see how well they remembered it—but they won’t, because the picture is already etched in their brain.
As the zodiac’s great Zen master, Aquarius is always observing, always recording everything around them, always silently gathering data for future use. As one of the most socially minded signs, Aquarius also exemplifies what psychologists have known for decades: People who have open minds and highly developed consciences also perform better on memory-recall tasks than those who are more neurotic and selfish. Because of their forward-thinking nature, Aquarians don’t simply stockpile information for its own sake; they also process it much like a water-filtration system purifies water so that it can be used to benefit everyone.
Although Capricorn is known for being more pragmatic and goal-oriented than altruistic and sociable, they also instinctively understand that you don’t get ahead in the business world merely through hard work—it’s more about who you know and how comfortable you make them feel. Because of this, no one can match Capricorn when it comes to remembering people’s names and faces. If, say, you met them at a business conference in Cleveland five years ago but don’t ever remember meeting them, they will still greet you with, “Hey, there, Marie! Long time! I like the new hairdo. By the way, how are little Sally’s ballet lessons going? And how was the trip to France that you’d been planning?”
The only water sign on this list—meaning, the only sign that’s more ruled by emotion than logic—Scorpio embodies Maya Angelou’s famous quote: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This especially applies to when you’ve made them feel bad. Negative emotional experiences affect Scorpio far more deeply than positive ones do. If you’ve made them feel bad, they will never forget, never forgive, and may never even sleep until they’ve avenged you to their satisfaction. They are easily stung and quick to sting back. In other words, they hold onto a grudge as if it’s a life preserver.